No. 55 High Street.

Photo:It looks like a separate building, but it in fact incorporates some of the structure of the earlier range.

It looks like a separate building, but it in fact incorporates some of the structure of the earlier range.

Photo:The crosswing, recognisable by the jetty which is still there.

The crosswing, recognisable by the jetty which is still there.

By David Miller

The house is of the hall and crosswing type, but there is so little of the original hall left that it is not possible to give a date to it.  The crosswing has features which date to around 1620.  The red brick chimney is probably contemporary with the original build, although the listed buildings survey suggests that the chimney may have been extended when the crosswing was built.  The original hall range was demolished probably in the 19th century, and a somewhat larger and higher range was built in brick to replace it.  The new brick front wall covered in the front of the chimney stack, which had previously been open to the road, and the brickwork partially obscured the small window at the front of the crosswing.  The new range was made about one metre wider front to back, in order to provide a passage to the end bedrooms.  It is probable that access in the old range was from one bedroom into the other, with no passageway. Many old Orwell properties still have this arrangement, and in some cases there is a second staircase instead of an upstairs passage. At the rear, in the angle between the two parts of the building, there is a large stair turret which must have served some other additional function as well. There were other buildings attached to the rear of the property, but their details are not known.

The property was a farm for most of its life, but around 1900 it was divided into two dwellings, and in the mid 20th century it was extensively altered with 'modern' windows and a double glazed front door to make it look as nearly as possible like a contemporary house of that time.  The present owners have done their best to remove these alterations - again, in keeping with the present fashion for opening up inglenooks and exposing brickwork! The photos tell their own story.

It is possible that this property can be linked to the Will of William Griggs, dated 1646. The will can be seen here.

Photo:No.55 in 1982. The addition of standard EJMA windows of the 1970's and a satin aluminium double glazed front door was not an aesthetic success!

No.55 in 1982. The addition of standard EJMA windows of the 1970's and a satin aluminium double glazed front door was not an aesthetic success!

Photo:And the rear view was even worse!

And the rear view was even worse!

Internally, the 1970's Parkray fire was removed, and the inglenook fire opened up again, although irretrievable damage had been done by the removal of the front part of the stack to create the lobby entrance to the front door.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'No. 55 High Street.' page

Photo:The left hand side of the inglenook had been demolished to create a lobby for the front door.

The left hand side of the inglenook had been demolished to create a lobby for the front door.

 

Photo:The fireplace in the solar.

The fireplace in the solar.

Upstairs, in the crosswing, another pretty little fireplace was revealed, which would have been to warm the private room, or solar, as it was called.  Note the use of clunch to make a stone pillar each side of the fireplace. The window in the solar has diamond mullions and ovolo mouldings which date to around 1620.

Photo:Diamond mullions and ovolo mouldings. Note the brick wall of the newer range has partly blocked the view down the street.

Diamond mullions and ovolo mouldings. Note the brick wall of the newer range has partly blocked the view down the street.

The timber used was elm, but the quality of the carpentry work is good.  Swell headed posts were used in the crosswing, and the photo shows one of these together with the face-halved and bladed scarf nearby.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'No. 55 High Street.' page

Some small traces of the original building still remain.  Here, the outline of the earlier roof, and the ends of the roof timbers are still evident.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'No. 55 High Street.' page

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'No. 55 High Street.' page

Photo:Original 'sparrow-peck' pargetting. Red brick chimney stack on the left, yellow brick front wall on the right.

Original 'sparrow-peck' pargetting. Red brick chimney stack on the left, yellow brick front wall on the right.

 

 

This page was added by David Miller on 05/01/2013.

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